“Rye’s Own” News – May 2004

Wish Street Car Park Under Threat

Planning approval is being sought for two blocks of five story flats on the old Gas Works site behind the Kettle O’ Fish. The site was originally deemed unsafe for building purposes because of the high chemical content in the ground left by the residue of tens of years of waste disposal from the gas producing process. It has been used as a car park since it was sold into private hands after the Gas Works was closed and is now the subject of a building planning proposal that goes before Rother this month. The proposal, which envisages thirty-four flats in two high rise blocks, has caused great concern to owners of adjacent properties and to other Rye residents who claim the buildings will be an eyesore and completely out of keeping with the area. Objections against the scheme have been made to Rye and Rother Councillors and to the Rother Planning Committee. George Angele owner of the Kettle O’ Fish, has just completed a multi thousand pound improvement to the business adding a large restaurant to the building. He claims that “losing the car park would be detrimental, not only to his business but to many others in Rye. There are too few car parks as it is and the loss of every parking space is another nail in the town’s coffin.” he went on to say “Visitors, tourists and shopkeepers will all be worse off, views of the historic town will be spoiled and the risk of contamination from the disturbance of the site will affect visitors and townspeople alike”. The plans (No. RR/2004/871/P) come before the Planning Committee on 18 May.

Heartbreak Hill

Three Hundred March – 1000 Sign

Three hundred people, including Rye M.P. Michael Foster, The Mayor of Rye Councillor Paul Carey, both our District Councillors, Granville Bantick and Sam Souster and almost every member of Rye Council, marched from the Postern Gate Surgery, via the appropriately named ‘Deadman’s Lane’ to the foot of Rye Hill, a hill that will no doubt have its name changed to ‘Heartbreak Hill’ if East Sussex County Council and PCT do not relent and allow the proposed move of the Postern Gate Surgery to be re-directed from the Memorial Care site to the old Ferry Road School location. Those that could not march signed a petition, over 1000 names had been collected at the time of going to press. This is another glaring case of people from outside Rye dictating the way things should be here and, as on previous occasions since Rye lost its corporate status, it has fallen on the people of this town to stand up and fight for what is, after all, sheer common sense. It is all very well for the fit and affluent patients to get to a surgery at the top of Heartbreak Hill but what about those without transport who normally walk to Postern Gate? And those from the villages who have already had one bus ride to get to Rye? Patients from Rye Harbour will have to plan for a days outing to get to see their doctor. Old folk will be seen struggling up the hill or losing their proud independence by having to ask for a lift. Some may be too proud and not make a visit resulting in tragedies. Ryers deserve better than this. The Ferry Road site, which despite what County may say, is the rightful property of the people of Rye. It should be used for the good of this town not sold off to the highest bidder. It has been a rapidly deteriorating eyesore for the past eight years, since those fine buildings, that had been built by local craftsmen just prior to the war, were first deserted to vandals and finally subjected to an act of County Council folly when the classrooms were bulldozed to the ground. Excellent buildings that could have, by now, housed both the Surgery and Rye Library Before the march left from Postern Gate Michael Foster addressed his fellow marchers and told them that this strength of protest could not be ignored. “Keep up the pressure over the months to come and I feel sure we will get this problem resolved” he said. Mayor Paul Carey told those gathered “Rye has had to fight for justice many times before, but we are good fighters, we will win in the end!”. Councillor Peter Dyce, a leading light in the fight to keep the surgery in town and a long time champion of medical facilities for Rye, carried on in the same vein “We are fighting to stop our surgery being moved into the next parish”. Each address received a warm welcome after which the marchers set off behind the Town Crier and the Bonfire Drummers via Rope Walk and Deadman’s Lane to the foot of Rye Hill where all could see the difficulty it would be for senior citizens and persons with illness or disability to walk the half mile to the top.

Peter Jones Castigates Rye Councillors

County Council Leader  Peter Jones opened his report to the Rye Council Meeting of 5 May with an attack on a letter he received from Rye Council regarding the failure of County to clear the way for planning permission that would allow the Postern Gate Surgery to be re-located at the old Ferry Road School site. He claimed that the letter was “offensive” and “called into question his own personal integrity”. Councillor Peter Dyce replied that one must accept criticism in politics but that Councillor Jones’ remark in the Rye Observer that Rye Council was indulging in “Grandstanding from the sidelines” was ‘under the belt’. Councillor Jones referred to a letter he had sent Rye Council in which he claimed that the location and funding of the surgery is entirely a matter for the PCT and the practice and not East Sussex County Council. He and his professional colleagues had tried to work with PCT and the practice to open up the lower school site as an option but despite everyone’s best efforts, this floundered principally on the problems of access. Councillor Jean Parks asked if it were possible to access the site from the Swimming Pool area in Love Lane. Councillor Jones said this might be possible but elaborated no further. Councillor Roger Breeds could not see how the original right of way for vehicles was not still in force but Councillor Jones replied it had to be renewed with a fresh development. Councillor Jones went on to say that Tesco’s had an option to purchase the Queen Adelaide but he was of the opinion that planning permission would not be granted for a supermarket on the site. The East Sussex preferred option would be for a housing development. Despite the setbacks and disappointments Rye Council is fighting on. They have gone directly to the top. The flawed proposal to relocate Postern Gate to the Memorial Care Centre site has been brought to the notice of Health Secretary, John Reid and his intervention has been requested. Rye Town Council have little direct power but by working together, ruffling a few feathers, getting support from the local M.P., with the population on their side and going directly to the Minister, they may have done just enough to win the Battle of Heartbreak Hill.

Mystery of the Town Hall Coffee Pot Unravelled

The mystery surrounding the Town Hall Silver Coffee Pot, which caused such a furore when a proposal was made to sell it off to raise £6,000 for the Rye St. John Ambulance, has been solved. It was discovered among the collection of artifacts in the Town Hall and at first was thought to have no direct connection with the town. The Council erred on the side of caution and decided to investigate further. Councillor Frank Palmer has come up with these results. One of Rye’s Historical Treasures George Slade Butler was a solicitor living in Watchbell Street (now Swan House) he was an antiquary and historian and from 1875 to 1882 Town Clerk of Rye. Local historians owe him a debt of gratitude for his researches into Rye history, much of which can be found in the Sussex Archaeological collections. His published list of monumental inscriptions in Rye Church and the Church yard, are particularly valuable. In 1854 he loaned the uniform of a Baron of the Cinque Ports, used by his ancestor Chriswell Slade, and part of the canopy and a bell carried over Queen Charlotte on Tuesday September 22 1761 at the coronation of George III; (the anniversary of the battle of Agincourt) for display in a museum set up in the Grammar School (Thomas Peacocke, High Street) for the meeting of the Sussex Archaeological Society. Later these items and others made from the silver staff, part of the canopy which Chriswell Slade had carried on that day and, at a later date had been made into a number of useful items (teapot etc.). Also the infamous coffee pot which is from an earlier period and not connected to the Coronation, were given to Rye Corporation by Slade Butler (Recorder of Rye 1911 – 1923) and Miss Butler, the son and daughter of George Slade Butler. These silver items form an important part of the Town Hall regalia, together with chains of office, seals and maces. Carrying a canopy over the King and Queen was one of the privileges of the Cinque Ports and performed by the Barons (Mayors etc.) but has not taken place since the 1820 George IV. Coronation.

Rye Festival of Local Food June 21st to June 27th

East Sussex is a County of natural plenty. Did you know that wine making in the area dates back to Roman times? Did you know that Queen Elizabeth I highly praised the Rye Bay Catch ? Did you know that in our ancient woodlands wild boar roam? Did you know that we have 3 organic farms within a few miles of Rye? Did you know that Rye, Winchelsea and area has over 50 hotels, bars and restaurants to eat and drink local produce from the sea, shore and land? “The Festival of Local Food” is in celebration of our varied natural resources which we want to shout about and share with our visitors. Rye and District food producers, retailers and hospitality establishments working together as a community, will bring the very best local food experience to our customers, tourists and visitors. During the week, you can sample the following produce in any participating restaurants and eateries; Our Chefs have prepared new recipes, dishes and menus inspired by the local produce. New season “Salt Marsh Lamb”. Seafood from the “Rye Bay Catch”. Sussex Beef. Organic free range chicken and eggs Organic vegetarian dishes. Local milk cream and Cheeses Bread and bakery products Soft fruits Local ale & beer Wine from 4 local vineyards, Orchard fruit, Vegetables, Salads.

Cinque Ports Surgery Patients Group

The Patients Group is putting on another of its Spring Programme KEEPING HEALTHY events at 7pm. on Thursday 13 May, when the subject will be Accidents in the Home. Advice from experts on how to avoid them and what to do when they happen! The evening will be combined with a brief AGM, when patients can find out more about the patient group and its future plans.

Mayor Reports Move Towards More Power For Rye

The Mayor of Rye Councillor Paul Carey addressed the open meeting at Rye Town Hall on Wednesday 6 April with the news that Rye is well on the way to qualifying for “Quality Council Status”. This will allow Rye to lever out some services from Rother. It will not allow as much control as in the pre 1974 Borough days but it is a step in the right direction. He maintains that if Rye had control of its car parks, gardens, sports grounds and toilets they would be looked after better and at a cheaper cost. The only jeopardy on attaining ‘quality status’ would be poor meeting attendance by elected councillors, all other requirements are in place. The Mayor said the highlight of the year had been the opening of the Swimming Pool. He is pleased with the level of support and reported that the complex is in credit. On the subject of Council Tax he said that Rye has the highest in the district. Even taking into account Shepway’s increase of 29%, Rye still comes out paying more! The decision of Rye Town Council to oppose the move of the Postern Gate surgery out of Rye (all but one were against the move) was right; 60% of the patients live in Rye and for those that don’t it was imperative that the surgery should be handy to the bus station. The Mayor praised the work of the Town Clerk, “He is one of the best in the county, we are lucky to have him and our other fine Town Hall staff “. He paid tribute to Town Sergeant Ken Gill who died earlier in the year. “Rye is the hub to surrounding areas” he said ” and we are partners with several villages in the ‘SID’ scheme which will reduce traffic speed by warning those over the limit with a scowl and smiling to those who are not speeding. There will be no fines imposed but we are confident that ‘SID’ will make drivers think and slow down”. He concluded with the words “I have enjoyed my year as Mayor and serving this town. Rye Town Council has been here for hundreds of years and will still be around when many others have gone”. No report was forthcoming, either verbal or written from Rye County Councillor Peter Jones. He was absent attending another meeting. District Councillor Granville Bantick presented his report on Rother affairs. He seemed very disillusioned with Rother, reporting that his plea to the lead Cabinet member for Tourism was met with the words that “Rye should stop moaning for Rye had done very well in the past!” He himself deduced that Rye was being given the run around in respect of this years Tourist Information Centre grant. The town’s other District Councillor, Sam Souster was even more scathing of Rother’s Tourism policy. “The Officer responsible for Tourism is on long term sick leave. There is no other designated Tourism Officer under the new structure. It is not even recognised as a service, and comes under the heading of corporate resources. I have always believed that Regeneration and Tourism are very much linked, and essential to the economy of Rye. How can RDC not recognise this?” Sam Souster was also very forthright on housing provision for Rye. “The Government is insisting that there be an improvement in the provision of housing, and all councils are expected to conform. Rother District Council is included in this requirement and has just received £4.5 million to provide 94 affordable homes, through their partners, principally Horizon and Orbit. Rye was, presumably, excluded because sites had not been identified. The local plan does now identify a number of possible locations suitable for development. It is essential that in order to preserve Rye’s unique character the right location is agreed. The 45% of new build must be protected with a shared equity or similar scheme so that they remain affordable. There are at present over 500 people on the Homeless Register in Rother, and over the past five years, the annual average build across the District was less than 71. There is also the loss of housing in Rye to second home buyers, many at the lower end of the market.”

“Rye’s Own” May 2004

All articles, photographs and drawings on this web site are World Copyright Protected. No reproduction for publication without prior arrangement. © World Copyright 2015 Cinque Ports Magazines Rye Ltd., Guinea Hall Lodge Sellindge TN25 6EG